Category Archives: Uncategorized

Configuring Your Inner Startup Utility

The Startup tab of the Windows MSCONFIG System Configuration utility lets you control which programs Windows loads on boot up – the fewer you allow the more efficient your system and the less potential conflict (in “system memory”) with “applications” like Word or Photoshop. Notice that programs like iTunes and Google don’t need to “preload” – they can be disabled and run only when needed–but they will try to load into Startup. Notice the many programs I have disabled in my System Configuration…

Now what about your brain? How many programs do you load when you wake up – assumptions, beliefs and stories that you don’t need but that impede your functioning?

You can begin to notice and even disable them (in your own Startup Utility) during silence and meditation.

Can you begin to identify unnecessary obsessive thoughts and concepts in the silence? Then your own conscious “applications” – love, peace, harmony, family and even worldly goals can unfold more efficiently.

 

Why “No Problem” Is a Problem

If you’ve been out an about recently where someone has served you, in a restaurant or store, and said “thank you” perhaps you’ve noticed a new trend. Many younger people in particular no longer say “you’re welcome.” Instead they say “no problem.”

I have a big problem with this because I think it is symptomatic of a shift in consciousness that is partially responsible for the number of unemployed younger people, and those dissatisfied with their current positions.

Looking a bit deeper, saying “you’re welcome” acknowledges your “thank you” as an appreciation of their service.

“No problem,” on the other hand, implies that your request in some way intruded on their right to be undisturbed and they deem it acceptable that you made the request and they complied. It conveys no appreciation whatsoever and I’ll go a step further.

They seem unconscious of another aspect of the situation. They’re WORKING.

Confronted with this concept, many might argue that I’m advocating a subservient position, but that is in no way the case.

Rather I am suggesting that during “work” there is an implied level of commitment to the task at hand that is expected unless you are an uncompensated intern. If you’re being paid, then it is your task to perform whatever duties are reasonably expected and none of these should ever be construed as “a problem.”

Assuming that any disturbance of your peace during working hours (and this includes your texting or speaking on the phone) is a problem that you magnanimously have decided to overlook makes you a poor employee. Period.

Recently I had two customer service experiences – in one a rental car was beeping in ways I could not fix and no one at the office answered the phone. In the other a web site did not perform as expected and I was not given the service I anticipated. When I pointed this out to “customer service” they said, “and what would you like me to do about it?”

They saw my intrusion on their peace as a big problem. They did not realize that it is their job to at least express some empathy and understanding of a customer’s perspective. They cannot undo what happened but they can acknowledge the legitimacy of the issue and even apologize.

This is the result when everyone begins to see their responsibility to perform their job as a problem.

Even if you take the position that this is a meaningless phrase that is now just in the current vernacular I beg to differ. “Problem” is a loaded word. Every time I hear that some getting me another cup of coffee is “not a problem” it rubs me the wrong way. And if I don’t come back to your restaurant, that is your problem, not mine.

You might counter that my sensitivity is “my problem” but again if you’re the one that is consciously or unconsciously considering service as a “problem” I suggest that the consequences will accrue to you.

Working with the public is no picnic but manifesting a self-serving attitude will not bode well for your future.

Risking the “when I was your age” cliché, there used to be a concept called “paying your dues.” When you paid your dues, you were happy to get an opportunity to work and believe me, under those circumstances, your attitude always conveyed that “nothing was a problem, glad to help.”

This is what I see so lacking today. I get it that college loans are overwhelming and challenging jobs are scarce, and many in my generation fill positions that could well be handled by younger workers.

I also believe this also grows out of the civil rights movement when it was said often and loud that “no one gives you your rights, they are yours by birth,” so that any suggestion that someone take a position of service is somehow demeaning and inappropriate. Young people seem to bristle at any suggestion that they should perform any task that they deem beneath them.

And there is also no question that when working with the public that there are those with unrealistic expectations and bad attitudes who may assert their power in ways that inappropriate, by being abusive, unreasonable or hostile. Certainly any human has a right to maintain his or her dignity under those circumstances.

However, when you are WORKING you loyalty is not to your inner peace, friends, task list or the voices in your head – it is to the client, customer or associate whose needs you are being paid to meet.

Therefore in no way shape or form is any request on their part, or need that is to be satisfied, a problem; rather it is an opportunity. It’s a vehicle for you to show you skills and demonstrate your willingness to help or comply in any reasonable manner.

It is a chance to show initiative, warmth, humor and intelligence.

So when someone appreciates your efforts and says “thank you” with sincerity, and especially if they drop a dollar into your tip jar, the appropriate response still is, and always will be, “you’re welcome.”

Link

Overview of Science and Duality Conference

menas spectrum Jac's diagramOverview of Science and Duality Conference

My overview of the amazing Science and Nonduality Conference in San Jose including the presentations Jay Kumar, Rupert Spira, Francis Lucille, and Deepak Chopra  and more. Excerpted from this month’s issue of Collective Evolution.

http://www.professorppt.com/SAND.pdf

Blackfish and Gun Violence

Last night I watched the film Blackfish on CNN; it’s the story of an Orca (killer whale) that had killed its trainer in the course of being held in captivity at Sea World.

Coincidentally I had had lunch with a friend who actually works with Sea World and he made some eloquent arguments that Sea World has actually served a noble purpose in familiarizing humanity with the wonders of whales and dolphins.

While the movie was obviously edited for maximum emotional effect two poignant scenes go beyond any objective “explanation”. First the way that Tillicum (the Orca that killed the trainer in Orlando) was first captured with other calves, and taken away from its mother and pod, was heart wrenching to any normal soul. Second, when the calf born at Sea World was removed from its birth mother to be trained at another park, and the mother’s shrieking and grief, would have to move anyone not completely brainwashed by insensitive materialism.

Sea World shareholders are suffering as a result of the film. My friend has his work cut out for him. On CNN’s site the point is made that the film ignores Sea World’s contributions to research and conservation but what is undeniable is that Sea World’s treatment of Tillicum would have caused any human become enraged. He was treated as an object – not as a sentient being.

What came up for me was a phrase used by G.I. Gurdjieff, a spiritual teacher from the 20th century, who spoke about “organic shame”; this is the feeling (or perhaps lack of feeling) of compassion for other sentient creatures and our responsibility to treat them (pardon the pun) humanely.

At one point in the movie the dimensions of the pens where these large, intelligent animals are kept were described along with the fact that they typically swim 100 miles a day in the wild. It was like a cell in solitary – in prison.

Tillicum was kept in a pen with aggressive females who bit and raked him with their teeth at night because he was not from their “nation,” pod or family. He was also manually milked of sperm and used to breed like a farm animal.

It reminded me of my visit to Sea World with my parents in San Diego when I saw the exhibit with the penguins, with the tags on their fins, and it reminded me of a concentration camp.

(My mother, who knew about this from personal experience, did not enjoy the visit).

So how does this relate to gun violence?

Think about a young man who has been conditioned from virtually birth to objectify women in a certain sexual way but encounters only women in the “real world” who are conditioned to want men of certain status, relegating him to a life of continuous sexual frustration.

Due to his conditioning, a “normal” relationship to a woman who does not come from a Bond movie or beer commercial is impossible. Further he has been abused and/or bullied for years, and his job has been downsized our outsourced.

For CNN to wonder about the “motives” of such an individual when he goes bonkers and shoots up a mall or an airport is what is insane – not so much his behavior.

Certainly only 1% of the population may succumb to these pressures and manifest mental health issues. Since no professional care is available and they have no real family, they go what is known as “postal.”

But that is enough to create sufficient headlines to fuel the fantasies of more of these people.

I would submit, however, that what we have in this country is not so much a gun problem, but a reality problem where love is concerned.

First of all, love is not romantic sexual consummation, as pleasurable as that may be. It isn’t the conquests in a James Bond film or a week in Monte Carlo on a private jet with Fabio, drinking champagne and being “fabulous.”

It cannot be acquired or purchased – it must be lived consciously.

We don’t have a lack of knowledge or information “about love” – we have a poverty of Being.

My parents had their problems, but they knew how to love without Dr. Phil or Oprah. They were loving, they modeled love, and they manifest generosity. They came from a loving community and built a loving home.

Every institution and business in this country claims to be about “love” – and “family” and “community” but for many of us those experiences, when closely examined, feel very empty.

And it’s not just men. Women who have bought into the superwoman myth and tried to “have it all” with the “man of their dreams” also often feel empty and short changed. They are not generally armed, however.

Let’s look deeper.

Every “comedy” show on television has a laugh track accompanying people ridiculing and humiliating one another. Every family comedy is built on deception and duplicity.

Any boy on a little league team who has a coach that suggests that “fooling the umpire or referee” is part of “winning has the same revulsion inside, until it is conditioned out of him.

This is organic shame – or conscience.

Something in us knows better. Something in us knows there is something objectively Higher that we have tacitly ignored. We can discover it in ourselves if we look deeply and honestly, and we can even find it “scientifically” in the world if we’re vigilant and determined.

We know that ultimately we bear responsibility for our own inner world, even if we hide it from others successfully.

And we know that we are not on a random inert ball of rock hurtling through a lifeless universe, but that we are living souls having a human experience that implores us to live truly lovingly – not with lip service or TV segments on “making a difference” but in our daily activities and interactions with other humans and yes, sentient beings.

We cannot continue to abdicate this responsibility and survive. Indeed our oceans are dying and many species on which we depend, due to the far vaster Intelligence of Nature, are also nearly extinct.

Nature does not guarantee us a future – and certainly not one for our children.

It’s time to wake the fuck up.

Science of Mind – For Real

I opened my eyes from my morning meditation and on the nearby Persian rug, my cat was similarly reposed in her Sphinx position.

Our eyes met briefly and I was moved to think of what my friend Michael Jeffreys says so often, that “what is looking out of your eyes is the same thing that is looking out of mine.” I had never completely bought into this idea because clearly our emotions and thoughts (the content of what we might call consciousness, even between twins) are clearly different.

But of course the deeper question is: what is thinking? And what is aware of our thoughts? (Another thought (can’t be thinking…), or perhaps “something else” entirely?)

We understand that our brains (and perhaps even our cells) record these experiences as memories, but how does all of this happen? And how is it that my cat and I seem to have experiences (live, as it were) and yet the laptop on which I write this, as intelligent as it may be, has never had a thought or presumably an experience?

These are questions that conventional science generally ignores as “unknowable” but with advances in neuroscience, biology and quantum physics, we seem to be getting closer – at least in terms of noticing that these issues form the very boundaries of our ability to know anything for certain.

And yet certainty, as a result of investigation, is the basis of our science, despite the fact that what we knew for certain only 50 years ago has changed or been proved wrong.

I believe that the next frontier of science is precisely what Eckhart Tolle calls “no thing” – nonmaterial energy or even, dare I say it, pure intelligence.

To me the true nature of Life, what some call Consciousness, Being, Awareness or even God, is the most interesting and compelling subject of all. I have always sensed that there is “something else” besides what we can tangibly see or understand, and most recently I have discovered numerous other teachings that suggest that it is Everything (David Bohm) and it is also “Me.” (Mooji)

This Thursday I will be privileged to attend an event that brings together some of the greatest minds in this field. SAND, or Science and Nonduality in San Jose, held this year at the luxurious Dolce Hayes Mansion will be a forum for discussion of these issues from a scientific perspective.

And what is “Nonduality”? Duality is the structure of our minds – we judge and think in zeroes and ones, opposites, hot and cold, yes and no, etc.

So Nonduality is whatever might be the basis for our minds, beyond that structure, and therefore beyond the conditioning that separates us from truth.

This again is the area that conventional science avoids so it will be fascinating to approach these issues, which have turned some scientists (Einstein) into mystics who have refused to simply use the word God, or supernatural theories, to explain what is.

There are those who say that the ONLY thing we know for sure is “I am” – we are here – and that there seems to be something which we call “Mind” which knows this. Everything else can be “deconstructed” logically or disproven.

A close friend introduced me to the work of Ernest Holmes, who actually started a teaching called, literally, the Science of Mind, which describes a power present in nature that we can use.

Others talk about energies, “the Force” and of course others (Tao, Christ, and so on).

One of my favorite authors, Eckhart Tolle, writes that there is an intelligence far greater than the one we attribute to our thoughts which runs our breathing, digestion, circulation and for that matter, all of life. In fact we have discovered this as a code far more complex than anything humans have programmed –DNA.

But again, conventional science has avoided all of this until recently, and organized religion has claimed to have the “answers”. This week in San Jose I will get what Michael calls “the latest.”

I will be writing about this conference for Collective Evolution and sharing my own thoughts, and I can’t wait to get started.

The Challenge of Unconsciousness

Perhaps the biggest challenge one faces is to remain conscious in the face of unconsciousness.

Consciousness, characterized by openness, discernment and empathy can quickly dissolve when the violence, irrationality obtuseness of another person or bureaucratic system trigger deeply rooted automatic responses to protect and assert one’s deeply conditioned “identity.”

Noticing these instances repeatedly can begin to create a space in which everything is recognized as “naturally perfect” and the degree of unconsciousness experienced begins to abate.

In this space, rest, relaxation, silence and attention to breath serve to gradually envelope the remaining unconscious energy—or not. Some manifestations of unconsciousness are impervious to the influence of reason or love; they are best avoided, ignored or finessed. Sometimes unconsciousness must even be met with conscious force, but never out of fear or “personal” anger but simply as a means of survival of the present form.

How does one recognize the existence of consciousness in contrast to its opposite? Trick question: it has no opposite. As Eckhart Tolle says, “the opposite of death is not Life, it is birth.” Life, Consciousness or Reason has no opposite.

True consciousness is apparent in its impartiality and impersonality, its support of life and natural functions, and its mirroring of the intelligent aspects of Nature — including the mathematical principles of Phi (growth – Golden Mean – Fibonacci sequence) and symmetry (Pi). Another way to express this is a conscious movement toward love over fear.

But consciousness operates beyond the thinking brain—it is felt when every cell of every organ works harmoniously with the external world, and no differentiation begins to emerge between what is “within” and “without.” The individual self still functions as part of this dynamic but only to serve reciprocal energies passing through within the moment, and in sacred submission to a much higher Intelligence.

This equilibrium is a state of joy – as opposed to the conditioned “happiness” one anticipates in the fulfillment of an externally programmed “goal.” It comes with the acceptance of the moment as it unfolds without judgment.

What is eventually noticed is that this nameless quality of consciousness precedes Everything; without it Existence could not Be. In the face of this traditional science crumbles in the same way that rationality simply surrenders when one looks up as an infinite night sky.

One does not need to know it as “God”. One only need feel it as Awe.

 

 

Money and the Meaning of Life – Jacob Needleman

 

“God gently reassures him [Man] that the deepest contradictions of human life are not to be solved but to be lived in full consciousness of their contradictoriness.”

– Jacob Needleman writing in “Money and the Meaning of Life” (226) quoting Isma’il Al-Faruqi, “On the Ethics of the Brethren of Purity” – Muslim World, July, 1960

Needleman continues “What is most necessary for man and what is given to him in abundance are experiences, especially experiences of the forces within him. This is his most essential food, his most essential wealth. If man consciously receives all of this abundance, the universe will pour into him what is called life in Judaism, spirit in Christianity, light in Islam, power in Taoism.”

To me, the key word here is “consciously” — to “consciously receive” does not mean to hungrily seek and acquire (or to visualize material wealth) — but rather to accept what IS with gratitude and awe. In Needleman’s terms this is the true meaning of conscience, to maintain attention in both the outer and inner worlds—in deference to the struggle between them.

This level of consciousness may serve to reconcile the contradictions — but Life is to be trusted, certainly beyond the intellect and what Life offers is beyond the judgment of the human mind—and if one looks at the heavens at night—beyond its capacity to comprehend.

Needleman: “I would say that one needs money to live and survive in the outer world, to fulfill one’s obligations to the community and to nature, but that above and beyond this, the role of money is to serve as the instrument for getting understanding. We come to the bottom of civilization if instead of understanding we are going after ‘information.’ Information is the plastic version of understanding. Just as bank cards stand to gold, as easy and deadly credit stands to honest need, obligation and giving…”

Money and the Meaning of Life (excerpt)

An Awakened Moment

When I opened my eyes from meditation this morning my cat Eva was sitting silently by my left foot.

As I looked down at her in wonder I realized that in her stillness she was in perfect harmony with the natural world, her ears attentively taking in frequencies I could only imagine, and in her own way probably meditating as well. In that space she was also attuned to Life itself and I was grateful for how she had shown me to accept what is instead of what I thought should be – and the wisdom that I had accumulated in the three years we’ve been together…

And then she yawned – and I realized that once again my mind had tricked me into believing a bunch of crap.

I laughed out loud, and in that moment, I was free.

Juice Cleanse: A Nuclear Option for Leaving My Comfort Zone

I love food. I did not realize how much until I began this little experiment.

Recently I wrote about thinking of food as a software program; if DNA is code, then the zeroes and ones you put into your system through nutrition chemically effect the information in your cells and your system “operates” differently.

This was pounded into my head by my health coach and holistic healer friend Darko Juric who used another computer analogy – “garbage in, garbage out” to drive the point home.

This week I am going a step further – I am embarking on a three day “juice cleanse” to flush out my system and remove toxins – I suppose this would be the equivalent of a virus and malware scan and presumably a system “update” for my operating system.

Day 1: Made it to my afternoon nap with lots of thinking about lunch. Took an Epson salt bath which refreshed me and gave me a bit of energy but no desire to go out and need lots of trips to the bathroom. Have Wimbledon to watch on DVR in the evening but the conditioning of building my evening around dinner is a distraction.

I watched a movie I had recorded – “The Prestige” – about two rival magicians who try to top one another, and one of them seems to do “real magic” – using advanced science – he contacts the historical figure Nicolai Tesla whose knowledge was so advanced that he was ruined by his rival, Thomas Edison.

Day 2: When I woke up I felt like crap, but then I remembered that this is the same way I feel on most days when my eyes first open–lethargic. I got moving by going out and turning on the air conditioner and PC, and cleaning the litter box, and discovered that the first water of the day was Aloe Vera – Mental Clarity.

I drank and got liquid into my system and my mood improved. I continued my routine of starting slowly and giving myself space, and noticed that the absence of “real” food was again very conditioned, and mental. My body did not feel hungry or even that weak.

I considered “normal” food and realized that the main aspects I was missing was chewing and biting – which I would be able to do again in another day and a half. There was also the issue of “taste;” but again I knew of taste mainly as a mental “concept,” as my friend Michael Jeffreys would say.

Michael had also advised me to “be the scientist” and I was approaching this experience as an experiment: what if my body is sluggish due to toxins and sludge that a cleanse would flush out? Wasn’t it worth a try? And how would “I” react in the face of discomfort, fatigue, irritability and craving for a hamburger?

I soon realized that food or “meals” were simply conditioned intervals in my day that gave it meaning and structure. Sometimes they were a container for social interaction but often they simply “filled up” other kinds of emptiness which I could notice and accept – certainly for a couple of days.

The activity of preparing the meal, planning it and even shopping again gave my day structure.

(I realize that those who work a full schedule and raise families are saying, “what is with this guy, how does he have so much time to fill” – consider how these conditioned behaviors fill your day and what might happen if they were suddenly gone. Right now I am quite fortunate, but not long ago the sudden disappearance of these structures made me very anxious).

When I was tour guide I noticed how some people were very uneasy on “vacation” unless they planned many activities which they were able to report back on their return. Only a few just soaked in freedom.

In many ways these “meal intervals” are a pointer to how much reality is “pure information” – and again mirrors the “virtual or encoded” software of our computers. How is that, you say?

Well if our life were a computer animation that was “programmed”, these intervals would be the “key frames” between we unconsciously fill space with automatic activities unless we are “present.”

Without key frames, life becomes “meaningless” but as you “deconstruct” reality you realize that all such meaning is “overlayed” onto a Life that is simply empty of “real” meaning.

For example, where are the lines of latitude and longitude, or borders between countries or states, on our actual planet?

As we look deeper, as I am trying to do in this cleanse, more and more of our habitual understanding of a world that in of itself is devoid of actual “concepts” falls away, and yet a deeper clarity of a far greater intelligence emerges. My body functions without the habitual movements—I breathe, move, eliminate and even think. And most important, without the habitual interludes of distraction, Life keeps moving.

In another day I can have a “real” breakfast.

Day 3: Upon arising I went to the fridge to see what today’s juicery looked like and decided to start with a Lavender Phenol water – having no idea what it was. I found it delightfully refreshing and got me going, with the added realization that my cleanse would end today.

For “breakfast” I am having a concoction of Kale, Cucumber, Parsley, Celery, Spinach and Romaine, while dreaming of an omelet, pancakes or bagel, lox and cream cheese…

In terms of bodily awareness, I had a headache yesterday and it got worse when my DVR failed to record Wimbledon, and the Tennis Channel gave away the results at the opening of the evening broadcast.

But I could hear rumblings all through my digestive track as my stomach asked “WTF”?

But I have a sense that my intestines, colon and kidneys were expressing a bit gratitude that the usual crud was not going through the system, and that they were getting flushed and cleaned.

At least I hope that was what was happening.

It reinforced the sense that we identify so strongly with our thoughts (and in this case my thoughts are gravitating toward FOOD) that we forget the significance of our “hardware”.

Everything internal is connected by design (let’s not get into the religious argument here) – and of course the internal and external are basically mental constructs anyway. Seen from a higher perspective, our “physical” existence is part of EVERYTHING although we tend to sense ourselves as separate, vulnerable, frail and potentially victimized entities unless we support our “selves” with sustenance – food, drugs, alcohol, sex, relationships, money, power, fame and of course, food.

And the notion of food is far reaching—embracing the social aspect of meals and all of its ramifications.

Another powerful insight on this cleanse that my female friends don’t seem to appreciate is the potential healing quality of irritability and complaining. Dark humor brings an inner smile as I realize the absurdity of various situations, and the fact that I apparently chose to do this is incredibly ironic to me.

Of course that brings up the conundrum of “who” chose, and free will. That one will give me another headache.

A Proposed Hierarchy of Awareness

 

Thought has been getting a bad rap lately in various circles. Ever since Eckhart Tolle pointed out that there is an awareness that observes thought, so that a thought itself cannot be “me”, all hell has broken loose.

Of course a central problem is that we mainly think in words, and words form the basis for much of our conditioning, so the realization that the persistent thought “I am a mess” is not “me” is extremely helpful.

And as anyone who meditates knows, the ability to observe a series of thoughts and not attach or identify with them, creates “space” for other types of inquiry and experience. We become less and less caught up in any one thought or pattern of thinking.

Inevitably, however, the question of free will comes upas we try to discern whether the thought “I want to get up” causes the action that makes us go to the kitchen. My friend Michael Jeffreys, in his deconstruction, points out that “we don’t make any thought happen so what makes us think that a thought that happens of itself has any power?”

We can even go as far as to negate the reality of thought entirely when we again recognize that there is an awareness beyond thought, that can observe our thoughts, and it appears after the actions that seem to result from them have already occurred. Life never stands still.

We sometimes call this quality of mind “consciousness,” and there are teachings that maintain that the awareness of consciousness is in fact “all” that there is that we know for sure—that the brain does not take in but rather projects the outside world entirely.

It is difficult to refute such an argument, but when it’s time to go to Trader Joe’s it’s a lot easier to assume that we can get in the car and drive because we need food and it’s “out there.”

It seems to be much less painful to live “as if” there is a real world “out there” beyond our thoughts.

And it is also very helpful to accept the world as it presents itself, regardless of our thoughts. The entire Eastern concept of suffering, or Samsara, is based on the illusion created by an overly powerful mind that “thinks” it knows better than reality. We can see some of that in hubris of modern science which sometimes believes “Nature made a mistake” and “we” can do better.

So how can we approach these issues, using our flawed language, and understand them more deeply?

It helps immensely to look at the language we are using more closely. For example, teachers like Rupert Spira point out that when we examine the subject-object structure of the way we communicate with words, it is easy to see where the notion of “ownership” by a self came from – for every action (verb) there seems to be a doer (subject).

E.g., “I had a dream”…

Or when we say “it is raining”, what is the it? And again, when we say “I feel bad”, who is the I – when we discern that there is always an awareness that knows what is being felt, sensed or thought, we move “above” thought, as Eckhart Tolle says. When we numb ourselves with drugs or alcohol, or habitually follow conditioned patterns, we are “below” thought.

But what about thought itself. We may compare thought to software, and it has many similarities in that it seems to “trigger” events and solve problems. But where is this realization pointing?

But if we’ve used computers, we have confronted the following set of circumstances:

We have tried to perform a task, like create a report from data, and it doesn’t seem to work. We may even open the manual, but the language of the manual is obtuse and we cannot follow it. We try the task over and over but we are stuck in the realm of thought.

We think we are doing it right, and we’re attached to our concept of how it ought to be, but it is not working.

Then we go from thought to an idea that takes us “outside” of our “selves”. We’ll call an expert and we dial tech support.

This idea takes some courage to implement, as we all know. We might encounter more linguistic frustration by being connected to someone in India or the Philippines; but let’s assume we have an experienced friend who has used the software more extensively and has experienced the same issue.

This friend, or someone competent at tech support, takes us through the steps and now explains the operation from the point of view of the program (or the programmer who designed it).

Suddenly the entire process “makes sense” – we have gone from Thought – to Idea – to Insight or Realization.

In many ways we have taken our “selves” out of it in order to make space for the “solution” to unfold.

I had an epiphany along these lines last year, when I was invited to Chicago for a weekend to celebrate the marriage of a niece I had never met by a cousin with whom I had recently reunited and bonded.

I wanted to go but was anxious about getting out of my comfort zone and had many “thoughts” about what could go wrong. I could get stranded, delayed, lost, stuck on the tarmac, lose my stuff or massively inconvenienced, and these thoughts were inhibiting me from taking the trip.

When I expressed these fears (thoughts with a powerful self-attached) to Michael Jeffreys in the Santa Monica Eckhart Tolle Meetup Group, he said, “what if you went to Chicago (and none of that happened) and you had a really good time?”

This came from beyond my “self” and was a new Idea. It had not appeared among my thoughts previously, which had been all self/fear-based.

Suddenly I laughed (a common reaction to insight or realization) and said, “I never thought of that.”

Again, it seems to me that I had gone from a coarser, materially controlled sense of experience (a threatened self) to a broader perspective (someone else’s input or idea) to a “finer” realization of a much higher frequency (hence the insight and laughter): I did not know the outcome (and it could be favorable).

And in fact, I went into the trip without expectations and open, and had a blast.

A big part of the experience was the ability to meet every situation “fresh” – without the need to orchestrate or control the outcome – and accept it as it unfolded. In fact, when my cousin picked me up in the car in Chicago and told me I was going directly to dinner downtown, instead of to my hotel for a nap, I had no choice but to surrender… And nothing horrible happened.

I now find it immensely helpful to attempt to create space and use my awareness to discern the quality of thoughts that arise – and let them go unless they have the taste of an idea, or occasionally, an insight or realization.

As I’ve learned, ordinary thought is just sound in my skull, like the traffic going by, and frequently negative bringing up a “problem” that I didn’t even know I had.

And such negative, habitual low frequency thoughts can easily become obsessive.

But beginning to notice different qualities of the same energy as ideas or insights, and not “taking credit” for them as an “I”, gives me the ability to potentially effect a different outcome from one that other thoughts might have envisioned.

Is there a “me” freely doing any of this? I am now prone to dismiss this entire issue as a “word trap”.

And what about the use of the word “Divine” in the diagram above – certainly modern science would frown upon such language.

When I look out at the stars and galaxies, which can take me easily beyond thought or ideas, I have a profound realization – I don’t know. My language is incapable of grasping the “meaning” of what I perceive from “my” own limited perspective.

I can only fathom that there is Something far Greater than my own limited capacity to “think” that comprehends the vastness that is HERE and obviously EXISTS.

It is an experience beyond my mind to grasp. Neuroscience tells me it is all happening within my brain, so it in fact IS Mind, but hardly a mind for which “I” can take credit.

To “me” this becomes the ultimate insight or realization—awe and humility in the face of experience that none of my thoughts cannot comprehend, and that the “I” that I think I may be, and need to get to Trader Joe’s, is nothing in comparison to… this infinite and vast Intelligence called Life.